Pac-10 Preview: Week 5

Conference action is in full swing. ASU and Oregon play a game that could shape the top half of the league, while Arizona and Washington have a battle between two rebuilding squads.

Power Rankings
1. USC 3-0
USC was not awe inspiring, at least on offense, and was in a dog fight against Arizona until late in the fourth quarter. They still get the top billing until they loose. Their defense looks like the best in the Pac-10 and that will help out the offense which is still good, but not the offense we are accustomed to seeing.

2. Oregon 3-0
The Ducks took the week off and still have a bit to prove. The gift against Oklahoma and the hard game against Fresno have me wondering just how good they really are, but any way you look at it they are 3-0. They can solidify their spot this weekend against ASU.

3. Cal 3-1
The Bears seem to be rolling. It looks like they put the Tennessee loss behind them. They get a real test next week against Oregon.

4. Washington 3-1
The Dawgs are doing it with smoke and mirrors, but they are doing it. I have a feeling they come back down to earth in the next few weeks, but for now they have two nice wins over Fresno State and UCLA.

5. ASU 3-1
I still think ASU is probably the fourth best team in the league, and there is no shame in losing to Cal, but the Devils were crushed. They lose a spot because of how they lost. They get no breaks this week against Oregon.

6. Washington State 3-1B The Cougars are a strange team. They look bad against Auburn and Baylor and then blow out also rans Idaho and Stanford. USC is a whole different animal.

7. UCLA 2-1
The collapse against Washington does not bode well. After looking fantastic against a solid Utah team, they have look iffy against a terrible Rice team and the resurgent Huskies. Stanford should be a nice way to get back on track.

8. Arizona 2-2
Arizona showed that they have the defensive chops to compete in the league. They essentially held USC to 13 points. Offensively there are a lot of questions to answer and they better solve some problems in a hurry to have any chances at a top-six finish.

9. Oregon State
Oregon State has outscored their opponents 94-17 in their two wins. The two teams, Idaho State and Eastern Washington, are a combined 2-6 (0-6 against D-I teams). Boise State is ranked, and they beat Oregon State 42-14.

10. Stanford 0-4
Stanford just isn't very good. They aren't showing a lot that leads one to believe they are going to turn it on any time soon.

This Week's Games:
#14 Oregon at Arizona State
ASU has a chance at redemption after the poor performance against Cal. Oregon can take advantage of the break against Oklahoma and continue to push USC for the league title. Expect ASU to have a better showing against Oregon than they did against Cal, but Dirk Koetter's record against ranked teams is not good at all.

#20 California at Oregon State
This one should be a Cal win, but a game in Corvallis is never a gimmie. The Beavers still have a lot to prove, while Cal seems intent on forgetting the terrible loss to the Vols. Cal has Oregon next week, so there is the chance that the Bears are overlooking the Beavers.

#3 USC at Washington State
Which Cougar team shows up? Did Arizona expose some weaknesses in the USC offense? How bad will USC miss Dwayne Jerrett? Washington State has to prove they can beat a legitimate opponent and they get one of the best in Pullman.

Stanford at UCLA
Stanford has to hope that UCLA is looking ahead to their revenge game next week against Arizona. Although UCLA has not been overly impressive, they look better than Stanford.

Washington at Arizona
Big game for both teams. Each team has suffered an embarrassing loss to the other in recent years. Both are also rebuilding and hoping to lay claim to one of the final bowl slots. Washington has the leg up with the UCLA win, but Arizona showed some moxie in the game against USC.

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